PARENTS at a central Victorian school fear for their children's safety as they begin another school year without 40 kilometre per hour controls on nearby roads.
Eppalock Primary School Council President Alicia Martin said busy traffic and a blind crest put children at risk coming and going each day.
The school sits at the intersection of Axe Creek and Patons roads which are zoned at 60 kilometres per hour from 8-9.30am and 2.30-4pm, 100 kilometres per hour at other times.
Mrs Martin has been aware of the issue for the five years her children have attended the school, but knows it has gone on for longer. She said the school's children deserved just as much protection as any other children.
"It's really disappointing to think that the school's been hung out to dry. We've been left. I don't understand why," she said.
"If the 40 kilometre speed zone is what is recommended, then every single child should have the same treatment. I'm surprised that this has occurred.
"Whatever day they decided 40 kilometres is the right speed limit, every school should have been changed."
Mrs Martin said she was told a school speed zone could not drop down to 40 kilometres per hour in a 100 kilometre zone, after making informal inquiries to the council and VicRoads in March.
But Mrs Martin said she had seen many near misses, with children were crossing and vehicles not travelling slow enough to keep them safe.
She said there were only four carparks on the school side of the road, meaning families had to cross the road after parking.
Mrs Martin said the road was extremely busy, with local traffic travelling to Bendigo, commuters going to Melbourne and trucks passing.
RACV senior manager of transport Peter Kartsidimas said vehicles were less likely to be involved in a crash at 40 kilometres per hour, while children involved in crashes at that speed had better chance of surviving.
The organisation is calling for all school zones to be 40 kilometres per hour, regardless of their location.
"The safety of people is paramount. And every child's safety is important as anyone else's," Mr Kartsidimas said.
"No child is more important than every other. Every school child deserves the safety of a 40 kilometre per hour speed zone."
Both Axe Creek Road and Patons Road are managed by the City of Greater Bendigo.
Manager Engineering Brett Martini said speed zones were a major traffic control item, requiring approval from Regional Roads Victoria
"The City has not been approached by the school council or school for a review of the speed limit or school speed limit," Mr Martini said.
"If a request is received we will review the current traffic conditions and asses these against the RRV criteria and discuss with RRV if a change to the speed zones is appropriate."
RRV acting director (northern) Barry Green said school speed limits were assessed on a case by case basis, and could take many factors into account, such as traffic volumes, types of road user, pedestrian volume, crash history, road environment and access.
"Keeping everyone safe on our roads is our highest priority, especially children who are some of our most vulnerable road users," Mr Green said.
"We work closely with councils, the Department of Education and communities on providing safe road infrastructure around schools."
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